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Continued Learning- A New Perspective

Morgan Navas | September 29, 2023

Graduation day is rapidly approaching which makes me think about how many times I would wish I could be done with school. I remember counting down the days, wishing to be ‘free’ from the hours spent in class, scribbling essays, and cramming test materials. And yet, as I get a taste of life beyond being a full-time student, I am realizing how much I have taken my learning opportunities for granted. Yet, through writing these posts, I am beginning to discover what it means to be a lifelong learner.

Lifelong learner is a term I have heard pop up time and time again, yet I always kind of brushed past it, blinded by my urgency to graduate. But, one doesn’t really have to be a formal student to be a learner. There are lessons to be learned from everything around us. I am discovering that learning new skills and researching can be grueling, but there is also a sense of gratification that tends to follow. My question tends to be this- how do I avoid becoming complacent in the knowledge I have?

There are a few tactics I have been trying to be more conscience of to remain curious. First, I have seen such a difference in how I view the world around me when I surround myself with people who are genuinely fascinated and curious about trying new things and meeting new people. I am continually surprised by how this inspiration becomes contagious.

Another tactic is challenging myself to do something each week that is new or out of my comfort zone. I often notice myself retreating into my comfort zone, somewhat avoiding the new experiences (which is where those inspirational friends come into play), but I have been trying to use at least one of my days off to try something new. Even the cover photo provides an example of this- a trip to the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, spent just exploring three levels of knowledge and exhibits. Because, truly, you can find the space to learn in almost any experience.

Writing has been soooo helpful for me to reflect on my perspectives, and what I have learned. It forces me to think more critically about the world around me and synthesize what I have truly learned. Sometimes it forces me to research topics further, leading to me discovering what other people have to say about a topic. And, hey, sometimes it is good to use that brain muscles every once in a while.

Asking questions! In a way, it seems so obvious and so simple, but it really does make a difference. Recently at work, engaging with guests has been a MAJOR focus, which means I had to take a serious step out of my comfort zone by making small talk with people all day. My shy, quiet self felt so out of place (and kind of like a stumbling, hot mess) at first, but with practice, it has become easier. Since then, I have realized how fortunate I am to be able to talk to all sorts of people from all different walks of life, and with that, I have so many stories and facts to share now. For such a long time, I was convinced that I could go through life without making those small, social connections in day-to-day life, but I am continuing to learn more about how big of an impact these connections can make over time.

So as someone who used to kind of roll their eyes at the concept, I understand how cheesy my soap box might sound. But I really do encourage you to challenge yourself to embrace learning this week. What’s the worst that can happen? You learn something new.

               So what’s it going to be?

A day trip to a nearby town you’ve never been to? A new coffee shop? A little bit of research on a topic that catches your eye? Maybe picking up a new hobby? There are so many choices, so get out there and give something new a try! I’d love to learn more (ironically) about how you choose to learn.

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